Anne Dynewell

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Anne Dynewell, whose ancestry is unknown (or at best, uncertain), was born say 1515.1,2

Anne married Henry Whitgift, son of John Whitgift, about 1530.3

Anne's ancestry is quite problematic. Potentially, she is a granddaughter of Jane Dymoke who married John Fulnetby, and this would give Thomas Bradbury a descent from Edward I. However, there is no evidence for it, except for a Holmesian Fallacy:

"When you have eliminated all which is impossible, then whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth." Fans of Star Trek may also recall this same line from Spock in Star Trek IV: The Undiscovered Country.

But, as noted on,
"To apply this logic, one must find explanations and eliminate them one by one. However, to draw a logical conclusion from this is fallacious, because both steps require omniscience:
     1.     Find every possible explanation.
     2.     Correctly disprove every possible explanation, except the true and undisprovable one.
As should be obvious, this is incredibly difficult, requires all knowledge of the situation, and may lead one to ridiculously improbable explanations.
In essence, a major flaw in this line of reasoning is that there may be explanations that you simply have not thought of."

What does this have to do with genealogy? We'll get to that after presenting the facts we have.

One of Anne's sons was John Whitgift, Archbishop of Canterbury. His biographical note in the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography supplies us with certain parameters for the ancestry of the Whitgift siblings. Quoting from Kirk & Hollick:
Iohn Whitegift . . . of honest parentage . . . was born about . . . one thousand fiue hundred thirtie and three, at Great Grimsbie in Lincolneshire [and] did participat his race with ancient gentrie, and some such persons as their place and office made honourable. For he was by kindred and bloud alied to the Fulnetbees, and to Goodrich sometime lord chancellor of England. The familie of the first being descended from an ancient race, hath yet is being in Lincolneshire, whereof Fulnetbee at this date liuing is indued with faire possessions. And the other (Goodrich) being bishop of Elie and chancellor of England . . . [T]his Iohn Whitegift had an vncle called [Robert] Whitegift [who was] lord or abbat of the abbey of Wellow (as I take it) Iuxta Grimsbie . . . during [John Whitgift's] fellowship in Peterhouse [at Cambridge University, the bishop of Ely] bestowed vpon him the parsonage of Teuersham neere vnto Cambridge . . . doctor Grindall archbishop of Canterburie dieng in in the moneth of Iulie 1583.

Kirk & Hollick determined the marriage (kindred) relationship to Goodrich is based on his sister Elizabeth having married Godfrey Fulnetby, son of John and Jane (Dymoke) Fulnetby. Both they and Murphy could find no other link between Goodrich and Whitgift.

The "bloud" relation to the Fulnetby's is much more problematic. Kirk & Hollick assessed that one of the archbishop's two grandmothers must have been a Fulnetby, and sister to Godfrey. Based on multiple factors including chronology and location, they surmised she was married to a Dynewell and mother of Anne & the archbishop. They could find only two records of any Dynewells at Great Grimsby: burial records of William Dynewell, 6 January 1544, and (presumably his wife), Katherine Dynewell precisely two years later, 6 January 1546. They identify other Dynewells in the area, but no records to tie them to Katherine and William. They draw two conclusions they rate as "probable": (1) that Katherine was daughter of John & Jane (Dymoke) Fulnetby and (2) she was the mother of Anne & the archbishop. Finding no alternative possibilities, they determined that "whatever is left, however improbable, must be the truth." But did they examine all possible explanations?

In a series of posts on soc.genealogy.medieval, Nathan Murphy presents another possibility. He summarized (and agreed with Kirk & Hollick) "that based on the Whitgift biography, it seems likely that John Fulnetby had a daughter who married one of the Archbishop's grandfathers, with grandfather Dynewell being the more likely candidate for geographic reasons."

However. Murphy also found another candidate for grandfather Dynewell: James Dynewell. In 1495, James Dynewell was elected bailiff and burgess at Grimsby, Lincolnshire. From 1507 - 1522 he is on record many times there as an appraiser, arbiter, constable, juror, and pledge, certainly in keeping with the description of the archbishop's ancestry as "some such persons as their place and office made honourable." Murphy notes that William Dynewell never appears in the lay subsidies of Grimsby, in which he should have been listed, given the inclusiveness of those subsidies (taxes), if he was a man of any means at all.

For chronological reasons, Murphy theorizes James had two wives. By the first he had at least four sons; by the second, who would be a Fulnetby, an unnamed daughter of John and Jane (Dymoke) Fulnetby, he had possibly four more: three daughters (including Anne), and a son. But there is no record or even indirect evidence to support it—only possibility.

As for John and Jane (Dymoke) Fulnetby, most of their children are known by various other records. Our "Miss Fulnetby" is proposed as an unnamed daughter who might have married James Dynewell. But no record shows her, only an empty void into which, logically, she would fit. Given that we don't know what we don't know, to say that is the only possibility remaining after discarding all others, is far from conclusive.2,1


Henry Whitgift d. abt. 1552
  • John Whitgift, Archbishop of Canterbury3 b. bt 1530 - 1532, d. 28 Feb 1603/4
  • Alice Whitgift3 b. say 1535, d. bef. 1596
  • Philip Whitgift3 b. 16 Feb 1540, d. bef. 10 Jul 1552
  • George Whitgift3 b. 26 May 1541, d. 19 Apr 1611
  • Richard Whitgift3 b. 10 Apr 1543, d. 1596/97
  • William Whitgift+3 b. abt. 1544, d. 2 Aug 1615
  • Geffrey Whitgift3 b. 26 May 1546, d. aft. 1554
This person was last edited on25 Aug 2022


  1. [S747] Marshall K. Kirk and Martin E. Hollick (editor), "A Probable Royal Descent for Thomas Bradbury of Salisbury, Massachusetts," The New England Historical and Genealogical Register 161 (Jan 2007): 27-36, further cited as Kirkpatrick and Hollick, "Royal Descent for Thomas Bradbury."
  2. [S748] Nathan Murphy, "RD900 Thomas Bradbury and the Fulnetbys", soc.genealogy.medieval, newsgroup, 2018-2019,, accessed Jan 2019.
  3. [S95] John Brooks Threlfall, The Ancestry of Thomas Bradbury (1611 - 1695) and His Wife Mary (Perkins) Bradbury (1615 - 1700) of Salisbury, Massachusetts, 3rd ed. (Madison, Wisconsin: p.p., 2006), 31-35, further cited as Threlfall, The Ancestry of Thomas Bradbury.